Supernumerary teeth observed in a live True’s beaked whale in the Bay of Biscay


Mesoplodont beaked whales are one of the most enigmatic mammalian genera. We document a pod of four beaked whales in the Bay of Biscay breaching and tail slapping alongside a large passenger ferry. Photographs of the animals were independently reviewed by experts, and identified as True’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon mirus). This is the first conclusive live sighting of these animals in the north-east Atlantic, and adds information to previous sightings that are likely to have been M. mirus. Photographs of an adult male appears to show two supernumerary teeth posterior to the apical mandibular tusks. Whilst analysed museum specimens (n = 8) did not show evidence of alveoli in this location, there is evidence of vestigial teeth and variable dentition in many beaked whale species. This is the first such record of supernumerary teeth in True’s beaked whales.

In: PeerJ, (7), pp. e7809